THE BLOG

Cuts Will Push Children Fleeing Violence Even Deeper Into Poverty

10/08/2015 09:24 BST | Updated 07/08/2016 10:59 BST

Today marks another major setback for families fleeing violence, war and persecution as new government cuts to asylum support come into force.

In a single stroke, the Government's decision to cut crucial financial support for these families will cause severe hardship to thousands of children in the UK, leaving many children living on just £5 a day.

By cutting this vital support by £16 a week per child, the Government is ignoring the fact that raising a child involves additional costs. And because people seeking asylum are not allowed to work, they are wholly dependent on this vital support.

Support for these families has been alarmingly low since they were frozen in 2011, pushing 10,000 vulnerable children further into poverty. Even before this new cut, some families would need nearly three times the amount of money they were receiving to live above the poverty line.

As we see from our work with these families, many have been struggling to provide their children with the basics they need for a healthy life. Many have not been able to afford the food, books or travel to school that their children need. Today's move will only make matters worse.

One of the key reasons given for this move is the belief that high levels of asylum support will lead to many more families seeking asylum in this country. But this is unfounded. Evidence shows no link between the two. For example, despite a fall in the level of asylum support since 2011, the number of asylum applications increased. The main reason people seek asylum is because they are fleeing for their lives, whether as a result of war, violence or persecution.

The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary for families. But this tradition is being seriously challenged by today's cuts to some of the most vulnerable families.

The Government needs to reverse this move and make sure that families fleeing danger are given the support they need. No child fleeing persecution should be forced into poverty and destitution.